Robotech pen-and-paper role-playing games, based on the Robotech and Sentinels series, were published by Palladium Books from 1986 to 2001. A new revised line began in 2008 with a role-playing game based on Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles.
Original line (1986–2001)
The original line of Robotech role-playing games consisted of the following volumes:
- Robotech RPG Book One: Macross
- Robotech RPG Book Two: RDF Manual
- Robotech RPG Book Three: Zentraedi
- Robotech RPG Book Four: Southern Cross
- Robotech RPG Book Five: Invid Invasion
- Robotech II RPG: The Sentinels
- Robotech II RPG: REF Field Guide
- Robotech RPG Book Six: Return of the Masters
- Robotech RPG Book Seven: New World Order
- Robotech RPG Book Eight: Strike Force
- Robotech RPG Adventures: Lancer's Rockers
- Robotech RPG Adventures: Zentraedi Breakout
- Robotech RPG Adventures: Ghost Ship
- Robotech RPG Adventures: RDF Accelerated Training Program
Core books one through five covered the three segments of Robotech as aired; Robotech II covered the Sentinels pilot movie and the source material that never ended up being developed. Book six and Lancer's Rockers took place after the series ended, and books seven, eight, and the rest of the adventure books took place during or shortly after the Macross segment.
The books were written partly by Kevin Siembieda and other Palladium regulars, and partly by freelancers (especially the later books and sourcebooks). Illustrations consisted partly of line art taken from original Japanese source material (particularly in the core books), and partly of new black and white line art done by Palladium and freelance artists such as Kevin Long.
Palladium also published a separate RPG based on the Macross II anime, but this was entirely unrelated to the Robotech continuity.
The original Robotech RPG line by and large followed the TV series storyline, attempting in its own way to fill in gaps just as the Robotech novelizations by Jack McKinney did. Several of the sourcebooks covered different parts of the world during or shortly after the Macross era, where there was the most room for expansion. However, the RPG diverged from the McKinney stories after the events covered in the Robotech series ended. Where McKinney followed Scott Bernard and the others in their search for Admiral Rick Hunter, leaving behind a peaceful planet earth, Palladium posited the Invid returning to earth a few months after they were driven away.
The books Return of the Masters and Lancer's Rockers were set during this second Invid invasion, and introduced concepts and events not suggested by the original material. Return of the Masters, set in Asia, features a system of gladiatorial mecha martial arts combat called Mecha Su-Dai; Lancer's Rockers concerns a network of travelling performers following in the footsteps of New Generation rock star Lancer/Yellow Dancer, carrying protoculture-powered musical instruments that double as powerful weapons (reminiscent of, but unrelated to, similar developments in the Macross sequel Macross 7).
The Sentinels RPG also diverged in some respects from the story covered in the Sentinels novels and comic books, having been developed independently based on the same incomplete source material provided by Harmony Gold. The two primary differences are the idea that the SDF-3 left with an entire fleet of REF ships accompanying them, and that the REF and the Sentinels joined in a protracted war against the Invid Regent. The game also suggested that members of the Sentinels' races would openly join the REF.
The Robotech RPG used a modified version of the rule system used in the Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game introduced several years earlier. Clearly patterned after Dungeons & Dragons, the Palladium FRPG used a very similar rule system, based around physical and mental statistics generated by rolling 3D6 (three six-sided dice), and the use of a D20 (20-sided die) in combat. Percentile dice (two ten-sided dice, one read as a tens column and the other as a ones column) are used for skill resolution. The Robotech RPG introduced the concept of mega-damage—"super" hit-points that are equivalent to 100 ordinary-person hit points—to simulate the toughness of the heavily-armored mecha. This concept would become widely used in Palladium's Rifts game.
Critics of the game charged that the attempt to bolt giant robots onto a D&D-like system, rather than design a new system that would scale better, was a poor decision. The Palladium rules' complexity, as well as the overall toughness of the mecha as rendered in the books, meant that combat and skill checks could often be confusing, lengthy, BattleTech-like affairs, interrupting the roleplaying process and making the game poorly-suited to simulating the rapid-fire combat action of the Robotech anime. The games also never saw revision into new editions (with the exception of one book, Return of the Masters); corrections or new rulings had to be covered in subsequent rule books or on-line FAQs, leading to further confusion. Another common criticism had to do with the percentage-based skill system, whereupon every skill in a character's reportoire improved by a set percentage with each level gained—even if it was a skill the character never actually used.
As with the McKinney books, the creators of the Robotech RPG originally lacked access to the complete source material that has since become available largely due to rediscovery and research. They were working to a deadline, from tapes of the show itself and translations of the limited original source material that was available (much of which was very imprecise on specific details).  As a result of incomplete availability of material, compounded by animation and dubbing errors, many of the mecha depictions in the Robotech RPG are not accurate to what is seen in the television show—they are given the wrong weapons and equipment and in some cases confused for other mecha altogether. This is particularly true for the Southern Cross book, where the many humanoid robots, battloids, and suits of armor are often confused for one another.  In one of the most notable examples, a 200-meter space destroyer is described as a small one-man fighter.
Contractual issues in the wake of Harmony Gold's aborted Robotech 3000 project, as well as a general refocusing of the company on production of its flagship Rifts line, caused Palladium to forgo renewing the Robotech license. The Robotech RPG line went out of print as of June 30, 2001.
Revised line (2008– )
The Shadow Chronicles
On August 26, 2006, a post on the company forums  stated Palladium's intent to reacquire the license due to the new sequel, Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles. As of February 19 2007, Siembieda stated that contract talks were still in progress between Palladium and Harmony Gold , with a new RPG, based on Shadow Chronicles, projected for release in 3Q 2007. However, contract negotiations lasted longer than anticipated, and it was September 6, 2007 before Palladium was able to announce the deal had been finalized. The Shadow Chronicles role-playing game was published in a "manga-sized" form factor, rather than the 8.5 by 11 inch size of all its prior publications,  a move that has engendered some controversy among Palladium fans, and prompted the announcement of a full-sized "deluxe" edition of the sourcebook. The "deluxe" hardback edition includes errata for errors in the first printing of the manga-sized RPG book. The book also includes combat rules and stats for use of large spacecraft/starships in game. However, they exclude newer Shadow Chronicals era spacecraft's technology and variants.
The Macross Saga sourcebook was released in late October, 2008, and a sourcebook covering The Masters Saga was released in April 2009.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Meadows, Chris (2007-02-19). "Kevin Siembieda Interview, Part 1" (mp3). Space Station Liberty. Retrieved 2007-02-20. External link in
- ↑ Bundy, Stan; Brian Myers, Robert McDaniel, Dustin Ramsey, Rodney Stott, et al. (2002-09-01). "Section 5: The Anime-Based Games: Robotech & Macross II". The Palladium FAQ. Retrieved 2007-02-20. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- ↑ Siembieda, Kevin (2006-08-26). "Palladium Survival Strategies". Forums of the Megaverse. Retrieved 2007-02-20.
- ↑ Meadows, Chris (2007-09-14). "Robotech RPG Talk with Tommy Yune & Kevin Siembieda, Part 1" (mp3). Space Station Liberty. Retrieved 2007-09-22. External link in
- ↑ Rali (2007-09-20). "Manga Sized Manuals?". Forums of the Megaverse. Retrieved 2007-09-22.
- ↑ Siembieda, Kevin (2008-06-13). "Palladium Books Press Release- 6-13-08". Palladium Books. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
- Forums of Megaverse - Official forum for Megaverse of Palladium Books (including Robotech & Macross II sub-forums).
- Robotech: The Role-Playing Game - Extensive fan-created role-playing game based heavily on Palladium's Robotech RPG.
- Robotech Bibliography - Listings of RPG books in and out of print.
- Robotech Research - Extensive Robotech role-playing game site.
- The Original Palladium FAQ - by Stan Bundy
- Robotech RPG Review - Macross Saga Revised edition VS Original